What to eat: traditional French onion soup and tuna tartare
Offering all-day happy hour prices for French wines and hearty European fare in the heart of Bugis, Ginett is the new ground floor tenant of the recently launched Hotel G. Helmed by group general manager and chef de cuisine Sylvain Royer, head honcho behind the Scarlett Restaurant & Wine Bars in Hong Kong and Bangkok, the 25 Degrees Burger & Liquor Bars in Los Angeles and the award-winning Benjamin Cooper cocktail bar in San Francisco, our expectations were naturally high.
The buzz at the two-storey, bistro-esque restaurant was evident as we arrived to a near full house on a midweek evening. Although the mezzanine floor with its mirrored private booths was not open when we visited, there was ample seating downstairs between the U-shaped, marble-topped bar and the main dining room with communal tables, bar stool seats and sofa options. Beehive flooring, high ceilings and old world furniture complete the laidback look. Giant blackboards highlight the generous selection (over 70 labels) of wallet-friendly young French wines and Champagne, making Ginett an ideal watering hole if you’re not looking for complexity and depth in your glass. For instance, the fruity Castel Roubine 2015 Rosé is priced at $8/glass and $35/bottle, while the rounded Merlot blend of Château Tour Bicheau 2013 goes for $12 and $52 respectively.
We recommend the slow-cooked poached eggs Meurette ($18) over the Burgundy snails ($18); the latter lacked garlic and were a tad too chewy to be fresh. Though the dishes arrived quickly despite the heavy volume of diners, it would help if the kitchen had slowed down a little. Key ingredients were missing on both visits. Our tostada chicken salad ($11) arrived without roasted chicken and grated cheddar cheese, as did the duck Lyonnaise salad ($27) sans foie gras terrine. The chicken salad was swiftly replaced by another bowl with chicken slivers and a cryptic cheese sauce. Have the tuna tartare ($21) with its subtle accents of ginger, coconut and wasabi instead of the braised Wagyu beef cheek ($32) and lacklustre croque madame ($13). Also disappointing was the recommended tagliatelle al salmone ($14) that emerged as an extremely dry Bolognese rendition instead. Likewise, there was no explanation for the potato wedges accompanying the applewood-grilled Angus beef sirloin ($22), despite the menu’s promise of duck fat fries. Perhaps the two course set lunch option ($18) might have been a safer choice, as service staff were not too familiar with the ingredients of most à la carte dishes.
Fortunately the robust traditional French onion soup ($12) and the ham and prosciutto selections ($12 to $59) saved the day, as did the popular assorted cheeses and cold cut platters ($30 to $54). Given the friendly French wine prices, Ginett is a decent option for a fun night out. It just needs to sort out the hit-and-miss service and not-quite-there fare soon. 200 Middle Road. Tel: 6809 7989.
Average dinner bill for two, with drinks: $240
Must-tries: Traditional French Onion Soup, Tuna Tartare